Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms boys basketball team falls to Goodhue 47-44 in Section 1A final

In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, the Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms boys basketball team, the No. 1 seed in the Section 1A tournament was looking for its third trip to state in school history at the Mayo Civic Center Arena Thursday night versus No. 6 seed Goodhue in the section final, and a swarming Wildcats defense was able to hold the Blossoms, who came into the game averaging 73.9 points per game to a season-low 44 points in a 47-44 win to qualify for the state tournament for the fifth time in their history.

The tempo of the game was established from the very start as the two teams engaged in a slow-down, half-court battle that saw Blooming Prairie take a 16-15 lead before the Wildcats, who shot a high percentage to start the game used a 7-0 run to take a 22-16 lead.  The Blossoms, though, clamped down from there defensively, as they shut out the Wildcats for the rest of the half, while in the meantime going on a 9-0 run offensively to lead 25-22 at the halftime break.

The Blossoms then looked to possibly be pulling away early in the second half as they took what would wind up being their biggest lead of the game at 29-22, but Goodhue then ratcheted up their defensive pressure even more, as they shut down the lane to such a degree that the Blossoms, who went 11 for 14 from the line in the first half only shot one free throw in the second half, and they also started to find the range from beyond the 3-point arc, most notably sophomore guard Luke Roschen, senior guard Jed Ryan and 8th grade guard Alex Loos to spark a 14-6 run to take a 36-35 lead.  The Wildcats held leads of 39-37 and 42-39 before Blooming Prairie’s Gabe Staloch drained what would wind up being the only 3-pointer of the game for the Blossoms from the right corner to knot the game at 42-42.  Roschen had an answer for Goodhue, though, as he promptly drilled a 3-pointer on the Wildcats’ next possession to give them the lead back at 45-42, and they were able to push their lead to 47-42 before the Blossoms were able to cut the lead back to one possession at 47-44.  With time winding down, the Blossoms had a chance to tie, but a 3-pointer from the right wing was short, the Wildcats pulled in the rebound, and Jed Ryan was fouled with :15 seconds left.  Goodhue was in the bonus, but Ryan missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the Blossoms pulled in the rebound and called timeout with just over :10 seconds left.  With a chance to tie, it was the Wildcats defense rising to the fore again, as they forced a deep, left-wing, off-balance 3-pointer from the Blossoms as time expired that was off the mark, giving Goodhue the section championship.

Brady Kittleson led the Blossoms in scoring Thursday night with 17 points, Gabe Hein, Gabe Staloch and Cooper Cooke all scored seven points apiece, Zack Hein totaled four points, and Colby Vigeland scored two points.

Even though Thursday night’s loss was a heartbreaker, the Blossoms put together a fantastic season overall that saw them compile a record of 28-3 and a Gopher Conference championship.  Goodhue moves on to the State Class A Boys Basketball Tournament next Thursday at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.